I was reminded of a great secret yesterday. It came twice, both times unexpectedly.
It started while I was making chocolate batter pancakes covered with Nutella for my kids before I left for the office. Out of the blue (for me, obviously not for him though) our 5 yr old decided to tell me that “I never obey angry people. That is why I don’t obey sometimes, you get angry.” I guess that means I am worse than I thought. Honest feedback helps us improve, right?
Later after the other two kids devoured their Nutella pancakes and the 5 yr old decided he wanted anything but chocolate covered Nutella pancakes he asked me why I have to go to work. I shared a few reasons and then he went further and asked: “What makes someone good at work?” (is he really only 5?) I was reminded about life’s greatest secret again.
All day yesterday I was thinking about his question. I decided to write down what was learned over the past decade by working with super successful people across a variety of industries and countries. I realized to fully become what we are capable of – we must focus on the foundational characteristics that make us who we are. If we understand the foundational elements of what can create successful people, then we can begin to work on applying the great secret.
The foundation for “being good at work” is to remember that:
1. You Matter
You are valuable and you are important. Live to your potential by helping others and focusing on action over theory, results over plans, and integrity over image.
“…please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever…” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
2. Integrity Should Be First
Stand for truth and honesty, even if it means standing alone. Your character is what matters. It is what builds trust. Trust always wins.
“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey
3. Confidence Kills Failure
Change your self-talk and change your life. You become the person you tell yourself you are. As you trust yourself, others begin to trust you. More trust equals more success.
“…real leaders recognize that everybody makes mistakes, themselves included. They know that practices like focusing on potential and looking for the good aren’t only great motivators, they foster better relationships.” – Justin Bariso
4. People Do Business with Those They Feel Respect and Like Them
The only way to get people to care about you is to care about them first. If you like them, they might like you back. If they can believe you, that is the foundation to building trust. If they believe your words, can see your actions, and like you – you have won.
“No matter how busy you are; you must take time to make the other person feel important.” – Mary Kay Ash
5. Givers Win
If you want to be great, to help others and to win, give more. Be more. Do more.
“While we teach, we learn.” — Seneca
6. Passion comes from Hard-work and Mastering Something
Passion is not automatic. The better we are at something, the more we want to do it. Find ways to master your craft.
“Don’t measure yourself against some standard of effort and sacrifice and perseverance you feel you can never achieve. Pick a goal and measure yourself against that goal. That’s the only comparison that ever matters.” – Jeff Haden
7. Getting Out of Your Safety Zone is a Great Idea
You will never find your biggest and best opportunities for success if you are stuck in familiar territory. Get out, change your surroundings, take a leap.
“Perfect is safe, boring, and potentially paralyzing. Your success is intertwined with your ability to connect with others. And to truly connect with others, you NEED to be vulnerable and share your strengths and your weaknesses.” – Michaela Alexis
8. Doing Good and Being Good Should Be the Goal
Focus on helping others and being a good person. Sometimes it might be harder but it is always worth it.
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” – Elon Musk
9. The Way to Solve Most Problems is Through Action combined with Optimism
Work hard and believe in your future success. Think positive thoughts and eventually you will have positive results. Worker harder than you want to while believing in the good more than those around you.
“There are really two kinds of optimism. There’s the complacent, Pollyanna optimism that says, ‘Don’t worry – everything will be just fine,’ and that allows one to just lay back and do nothing about the problems around you. Then there’s what we call dynamic optimism. That’s an optimism based on action.” – Ramez Naam
So once the foundation is laid, you can begin to focus on the secret key to all business success: that great secret.
The great secret?
In the end, relationships always matter the most.
Of course data is important, yet, it is not the most important. Yes, performance is needed, but no amount of performance can repair broken relationships. Relationships win when all else is equal. Data does not win business (or elections, just ask Hilary & Mitt), it is all about relationships (real or perceived). As you focus on developing better skills remember the number one skill to master is your ability to create enduring relationships. Listen. Care. Think about their needs.
As you build your foundation and embrace your current situation you end up embracing your future. Now you can get motivated and will move yourself to the next level. The further you go, the more incredible, challenging, and fulfilling your life will be. Bring people with you. Your happiness and success is largely determined by the quality of your relationships.
While smooth, sweet, nutty, creamy Nutella is always welcome, sometimes we need people to give us the “difficult to swallow” feedback and ask us the “hard” questions. Thanks Son, Love You.
Your Turn: What “secrets” have you learned or been reminded of the hard-way?